Essex

Grace Millane: Shovel recovered in backpacker murder probe

Grace Millane Image copyright Lucie Blackman Trust
Image caption The University of Lincoln graduate arrived in New Zealand in mid-November

Police investigating the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane have recovered a shovel after an appeal.

The 22-year-old disappeared in Auckland on 1 December. Police ended their search on Sunday after finding a body on the outskirts of the city.

The shovel was found "in the central west Auckland area" after CCTV footage was reviewed, police said.

A 26-year-old man has appeared in court in New Zealand charged with Miss Millane's murder.

In a short statement from Auckland City Police on Thursday, Det Insp Scott Beard said the long-handled shovel was "located and seized as a result of the continued examination of CCTV footage".

Image caption About 200 people gathered at a vigil in Miss Millane's home town

Miss Millane's body has been returned to her family and is expected to be repatriated to Britain in the coming days.

Hundreds of people paid tribute to Miss Millane at a vigil in her home town on Wednesday night.

Her mother Gillian and brothers Declan and Michael were among 200 people lighting candles outside the Fox and Hounds pub near Wickford, Essex.

The University of Lincoln graduate's father, David Millane, has flown to New Zealand and visited the place where her body was found.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police released CCTV images of the backpacker at Auckland's Sky City entertainment complex on the day she disappeared

Miss Millane had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

Police believe she was killed between 1 December and 2 December.

The 26-year-old man charged with her murder, who cannot be named, is due to appear in court again next month.

Investigators are trying to establish a timeline of events leading up to the death of the graduate from Essex.

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